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What Is the GWAPT Certification?

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The GIAC Web Application Penetration Tester (GWAPT) certification validates a practitioner’s ability to improve an organization’s cybersecurity through application security penetration testing, vulnerabilities, and methodologies. In this blog post, we will explain what the GWAPT certification is, from the areas it covers and its prerequisites to its objectives and how to best prepare for it.

What is the GWAPT certification?

The GIAC (Global Information Assurance Certification) Web Application Penetration Tester, or GWAPT certification, validates a practitioner’s ability to better secure organizations through penetration testing and an in-depth understanding of web application security vulnerabilities. GWAPT certification holders have demonstrated knowledge of web application exploits and penetration testing methodologies. The GWAPT certification covers the following areas:

  • Web application overview, authentication attacks, and configuration testing.
  • Web application session management, SQL injection attacks, and testing tools.
  • Cross-Site Request Forgery and Scripting, Client Injection attacks, and reconnaissance and mapping.

What are the GWAPT certification prerequisites?

The GWAPT GIAC registration page doesn’t mention any prerequisites, but its SEC542 preparatory course “assumes students have a basic working knowledge of the Linux command line.” Other sources on the Internet mention experience with basics of Linux and Kali Linux.

Who the GWAPT certification is for?

The GWAPT certification is designed for the following professionals:

  • Cybersecurity practitioners: These include ethical hackers or penetration testers and security analysts who want to validate their skills in web application penetration testing.
  • Web application developers: These include web developers who want to improve their web application security knowledge and skills.
  • Website designers and architects: These include website designers and architects who want to learn more about web application security issues.

The GWAPT certification is also suitable for individuals who want to validate their skills and knowledge in web application security.

What is the GWAPT certification exam format?

The GWAPT exam is as follows:

  •  1 proctored exam.
  •  82-115 questions.
  •  2-3 hours.
  •  Minimum passing score of 71%.

What are the exam delivery options?

All GIAC certification exams are web-based and require to be proctored. The two proctoring options are the following:

  • Remote proctoring through ProctorU: This means that you can take your exam from anywhere in the world as long as you have a webcam and a reliable Internet connection.
  • Onsite proctoring through Pearson VUE: This means that the GIAC-approved Training Center or Proctor Pearson VUE will be administering your exam.

What are the certification objectives and outcome statements?

Cross-Site Request Forgery, Cross-Site Scripting, and Client Injection attacks

The candidate will show an understanding of Cross-Site Request Forgery, Cross-Site Scripting, and Client Injection attacks as well as the tools and techniques used to find and exploit vulnerabilities.

Reconnaissance and mapping

The candidate will show an understanding of the discovery, exploration, and investigation techniques of a website and web application features, including port scanning, identifying services and configurations, spidering, application flow charting, and session analysis.

Web application authentication attacks

The candidate will show a familiarity with the securing process and mechanisms of web applications by authentication, how to enumerate users and how to bypass and exploit weak authentication.

Web application configuration testing

The candidate will show a familiarity with the tools and techniques used to audit and identify configuration flaws in the design or implementation of a website.

Web application overview

The candidate will show an understanding of the technologies, programming languages, and structures for building and implementing a website such as HTTP, HTTPS, and AJAX within the context of security, vulnerabilities, and basic operation.

Web application session management

The candidate will show an understanding of a web application’s management of client sessions, tracking of user activity, and use of the SSL/TLS protocols in modern web communications as well as the attacks that can be executed against flaws in session state.

Web application SQL injection attacks

The candidate will show a familiarity with the techniques for auditing and testing web applications security through SQL injection attacks and also how to identify SQL injection vulnerabilities in applications.

Web application testing tools

The candidate will show an understanding of the tools and techniques to perform web application security testing on modern web-based languages, namely JavaScript with AJAX, including the use of proxies, fuzzing, scripting, and attacking application logic.

How to best prepare for the GWAPT certification?

The GIAC course SEC542: Web App Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking is designed to help GWAPT candidates progress from “push-button scanning to professional, thorough, high-value web application penetration testing.” SEC542 is a comprehensive, hands-on course providing attendees with the skills they need to find and exploit vulnerabilities in modern web applications. The course covers all of the GWAPT exam objectives, including information gathering, content discovery, authentication, session testing, and injection and XXE flaws exploitation.

Other ways to prepare for the GWAPT certification include the following :

  • Practical work experience can help ensure that you have developed the skills required for the GWAPT certification exam.
  • College-level courses or self-paced study through other programs or materials can help elevate your skills and knowledge.


Web application penetration testing is a critical skill for any modern information security professional. The GWAPT certification is a globally recognized credential that validates your skills and knowledge in this area. If you are looking to get started in web application penetration testing, or want to take your skills to the next level, the GWAPT certification is a great option. This web application-specialized certification ranges among the top 8 penetration testing certifications a penetration testing provider should hold.

Contact us if you need help improving your security with web application penetration testing.

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